Book thoughts: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick (2013)

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not really sure how to begin to describe this book. It has humor and mystery and romance but not in the stereotypical YA way that is so popular right now. There’s a magical element but I would never call it fantasy.

The Plot: Becky Randle would never consider herself someone special. She lives with her mother in a trailer in Missouri. Her mother is very fat, like “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” large, and Becky spends most of her time sitting next to her on the couch, watching gossip shows and eating junk food, just living day to day, not sure what to do with herself since graduation. Then one day, her mother dies. While cleaning out the trailer, Becky discovers a box that should hold an engagement ring, but inside she finds a phone number and a note from her mother urging her to say yes to life.

Becky dials the number and later that week she is flown out to New York City and has a meeting with Tom Kelly, the world famous designer. Kelly makes her an offer. He will make her 3 dresses and when she wears those dresses, she will become the most beautiful woman in the world. Becky is skeptical to say the least, but the note from her mother makes her take a chance so she agrees to wear the dresses and see what happens.

Yes, this plot outline sounds stupid on paper and this book could easily have been a bit of Cinderella retelling fluff. But instead Rudick crafts a sweet, smart story not just about growing up but maturing. About understanding the difference between attraction and love. And how beauty and fame transform our world and those around us.

It’s beautiful and honest. It’s a perfect metaphor for growing up, growing out of that high school obsession with physical beauty and growing into the person you will be as an adult.


    • Hm, it could work as a movie except for one part…how would you cast someone as the most beautiful woman in the world and have everyone agree? Unless you never actually show her and always stay in Becky’s point of view…but even Becky sees her when she looks at her reflection…


      • This may be way out there, but what if she looked different with each dress? Like her most beautiful look was always there but how she looked was different?

        So say one time she looked like Scarlett Johansson, the next time Halle Berry and so on?


      • Hm…I really like this idea…I feel like it’s been seen elsewhere…was it Red Dwarf? I think there was an episode where the creature that appeared took on whatever form the viewer would perceive as the most beautiful.

        I feel like this is veering into the realm of “inspired by” rather than “based on” the book. Maybe this is the script you’re meant to write! 😉


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